Mystery Place: Farmstead downsizes in acreage and size of livestock

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Ginny Hall | July 25, 2014

You can see the Dantuma farm and its Windmill Star barn quilt at W3090 State Line Road. Probably the easiest route is to take Highway 120 south toward the Illinois state line. Then head west about a half mile. Their barn is on the north side of the road. The farm is located in Section 35 in the town of Linn.

The 1857 plat map of the county shows the owner of this property as Est. of J. Goodfellow. Then from the 1873 plat book through the 1907 plat book the owner is listed as R.R. Nutt. The current owners assume that the buildings were erected during this time.

The only reference I could find for Nutt in Albert Beckwith's “History of Walworth County” was for a Polly Nutt. She was married to John Mickle. This family lived in Section 31 of the town of Linn. This reference was in a biography of Walter E. Ledger. He was a well-known and successful town of Linn farmer.

Fred Kolls became the owner by 1919. His ownership is listed in the Prairie Farmer's Reliable Directory of Farmers and Breeders of Walworth County, Wisconsin. That book was copyrighted in 1919. 

The directory indicates that Kolls was married to Anna H. Schaeht. Their children were Laura, James, Clifton, Elsie and Jessie. The latter two named children were not living on the farm in 1919.

Kolls owned 87 acres; he lived in the county since 1898. Echo Farm was the name of his farm.

In the 1966 plat book, the owners are shown to be James & Effie Kolls. James is Fred's son. Effie is listed as the owner in the 1977 book. In 1982 Keith Kolls is shown as the owner. He is James and Effie's son. 

The original barn burned in 1982 and was replaced the next year. It was used to house the dairy cattle. The original home was removed and replaced in 1992.

Michael and Linda Dantuma purchased the 100-acre farm in 1990. The original pig house now is home to pygmy goats, peacocks and chickens. The barn is home to Sicilian miniature donkeys. The chimney from the pig house is located in the front of the house with a gazing ball. The windmill fan was restored in 1998.

The Dantumas have sold most of the original acreage but kept the farmstead and six acres.
Ginny Hall, a historian from Delavan, is author of the “Walking around ...” and “Meandering ... ” books, which highlight the history of Walworth County communities.

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